Saturday, November 27, 2021

Grealish hails ´real goat´ Smith as Aston Villa sack coach

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Nov 2021

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Aston Villa have sacked head coach Dean Smith after five consecutive defeats left the club just two points clear of the Premier League’s bottom three heading into the November international break.

Smith was appointed at Villa Park in October 2018 and quickly led his boyhood club back to the top flight via the Championship play-offs.

Villa just about survived relegation in their first season back up and also reached the EFL Cup final, before kicking on last term and finishing 11th.

But Villa sold talismanic captain Jack Grealish to Manchester City for a British record £100million fee before the start of the 2021-22 campaign and have struggled in his absence.

Smith’s side did win away at Manchester United on September 25, but they have lost every match since then, most recently 1-0 at Southampton on Friday.

Villa have lost seven of their 11 Premier League games this season, conceding 20 goals. It was not until their 18th league game last season that they lost as many games and conceded as many goals.

But Smith, who won 39.6 per cent of his 139 games in charge, departs with the best wishes of Villa supporters – including Grealish.

“No1 will ever compare,” Grealish wrote on Twitter. “The real goat.”

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a club statement on Sunday: “The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.

“Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa, our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”

With basement side Norwich City also dismissing Daniel Farke this weekend, there have now been five managerial departures in the Premier League this season (also Xisco Munoz, Steve Bruce and Nuno Espirito Santo).

There were only four in the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign (Slaven Bilic, Frank Lampard, Chris Wilder and Jose Mourinho).

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